New York is Proposing a Crackdown on Highly Popular Gun

By: Georgia | Last updated: May 31, 2024

In an unprecedented move, New York is pushing forward with legislation to ban the sale of pistols that can be converted into machine guns. 

This ambitious proposal positions New York to become the first state to tackle what many see as a loophole in gun regulation.

American Guns Linked to Cartel Violence

Regardless of what people’s thoughts and opinions are on guns, in what comes as a blow to the American gun industry is that American guns have been linked to cartel violence over the border in Mexico.

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A black handgun surrounded by gold bullets.

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This comes after Mexican military data was hacked into and shared with the rest of the world. It has been argued that this violence can only be stopped by having stringent control on guns bought from America.

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Joe Biden’s Gun Loophole Shut Down

Joe Biden has already attempted to clamp down on other gun law loopholes in an aim to bring more safety to America. This involved providing tighter background checks at gun shows.

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Joe Biden in a blue suit standing next to a US flag.

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However, a judge in Texas completely shut down this new law, with the judge claiming that it would conflict with the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which modified licensing requirements for gun sellers.

New Gun Laws and the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution states that all US citizens have the right to own and carry firearms. However, recent proposed legislation across multiple states has tried to place safeguarding laws on who can purchase, own, and use firearms.

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Two black handguns side by side.

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Many of these new proposed legislations have yet to actually be passed through the courts. For example, a judge in Oregon ruled that banning magazines would be unconstitutional and immediately threw the matter out of court.

Glock in the Hot Seat

At the center of this legislative effort is Glock, the renowned gun manufacturer whose pistols have dominated the market since the 1980s. 

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Close-up of the Glock brand logo with the word "LOCK" and "PERFECTION" below it, embossed on a worn metallic surface showing signs of age and exposure

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The ease with which Glock pistols can be modified to fire automatically has sparked this targeted scrutiny.

How Glocks Are Turned into Machine Guns

Glocks have a certain ease of use that enables them to be turned from pistols into machine guns. What makes this easily done is the removable slide plate.

A black gun in a brown leather holster.

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When a Glock pistol is fired, the recoil from the explosion that occurs within it forces the slide to go back. During the resetting process, the trigger bar rises to catch it, holds back the firing pin, and prevents another shot. The slide plate can be replaced by a Glock switch, allowing the firearm to fire automatically.

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Shootings in New York Are Down

Despite these new proposals, shootings in New York are currently down. This has led many to question why these new laws have even been proposed in the first place.

Four black guns face down in brown leather holsters.

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Part of the reason is that there is a growing concern that the enhancement of these guns can pierce through the protective vests that are worn by most law enforcement officers. There is the worry that should any of these officers be at the receiving end of someone with one of these guns, and there could be some fatalities.

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Law Enforcement Officers Have Lost Their Lives

One law enforcement officer was caught in the crossfire with a device that had been enhanced by an autosear. Houston Police Officer William Jeffrey was attending a house to serve a felony arrest when disaster struck.

A police officer in a black top with "Police" in white and a black helmet.

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He was standing behind the front door when the person on the other side began firing an automatic weapon that had been enhanced by an autosear. The bullets pierced through the door and into Jeffrey’s chest, killing him instantly. Had the gun not been enhanced, he could still be alive today.

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A Rapid Rate of Fire

The weapons with autosears have a rapid rate of fire. At a rough estimate, they can fire 800 to over 1000 rounds in one minute. This is something law enforcement officers are attempting to put an end to.

A black gun in a brown leather holster.

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As converted handguns are difficult to handle and control, this means the bullets can be fired anywhere. Even if the perpetrator intended to shoot a specific person or group of people, any others who happen to be nearby could also potentially be shot at, regardless of where the shots were intended to be fired.

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Senator Myrie Calls for Corporate Accountability

“Any business operating in New York State must take basic responsibility for its behavior in the marketplace,” declared Senator Zellnor Myrie, the driving force behind the new bill.

A male state senator in a dark blue suit and glasses standing and speaking in a legislative chamber, with other seated individuals slightly out of focus in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Myrie’s statement illustrates a growing demand for companies to consider the societal impact of their products.

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Dealers Could Face Felony Charges

Under the proposed legislation, gun dealers selling these convertible pistols could be slapped with felony charges.

Wide view of a gun show with numerous tables displaying various models of handguns and rifles available for sale to attendees in a crowded hall

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This severe legal penalty aims to curb the spread of these adaptable firearms, mitigating potential threats to public safety.

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What Are Convertible Pistols?

The bill attempts to clearly define what makes a pistol ‘convertible.’

An individual, visible from the back, aiming a Glock pistol at a target in an indoor shooting range, with focus on the gun and hands

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It targets those that can be turned into a machine gun “solely by the installation or attachment of a pistol converter,” zoning in on a specific class of firearms.

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Automatic Guns Are Wreaking Havoc

It’s not just New York that is experiencing issues with semi-automatic guns being turned into machine guns, as states all over the US are experiencing these issues.

A black gun in a brown leather holster.

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Between 2019 and 2022, incidents caused by machine gun fire rose by 1400%, which has all been helped due to the devices turning semi-automatic guns into machine guns.

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Autosears Are on the Black Market

The switch devices are known as autosears and are commonly sold on the black market. This can make them difficult to track and if they end up in the wrong hands, the results can be catastrophic.

Three black guns in brown and black leather holsters.

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Many autosears are being sold by licensed gun dealers and end up being in the possession of drug dealers and gang members.

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Autosears Are a Growing and Emerging Threat

Autosears are a new device on the market, and law enforcement officers are trying their best to prevent things from escalating.

A black gun pointing towards a block of wood.

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This is why New York is trying to get one step ahead by banning these devices altogether to try and prevent a significant amount of innocent people from getting hurt.

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Current Gun Laws on Automatic Weapons

There are currently some gun laws in place when it comes to automatic weapons and what owners have to do when they purchase one.

A black gun on a wooden table.

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The current law requires automatic weapons to be registered. Private sellers also have to register them under the NFA. 741,000 were registered in 2021, up from 457,000 in 2011.

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Manufacturers to Step Up

Complementing the main legislation is a proposal requiring gun manufacturers to prevent easy conversions of their pistols.

A close-up of a Glock 30 pistol displayed on a stand, with clear views of its details including the model and caliber inscriptions on the slide

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Non-compliance could expose them to lawsuits under a recent New York law that holds manufacturers accountable for gun violence damages.

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Autosears Are Cheaper Than Automatic Weapons

Currently, it is a lot cheaper for someone to buy an autosear to turn a regular gun into an automatic weapon than it is to buy an automatic weapon outright.

A black gun in a leather holster attached to a belt.

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Currently, it costs just $25 to buy an autosear. However, it costs around $200 for an automatic weapon. As the former is a lot cheaper, many decide to opt for this instead.

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Glock's Potential Legal Response

Glock has yet to respond to the proposed measures officially.

A Glock pistol lies on a textured brown fabric surface, accompanied by several bullets

Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, if the bill is enacted, the company is expected to challenge it vigorously in court, setting the stage for what could be a landmark legal battle.

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The Bill's Ambiguous Language Questioned

Tom King of the NY State Rifle & Pistol Association has voiced concerns about the bill’s lack of clarity.

Close-up of a hand holding a Glock 17 pistol, showing the slide with the model number

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He told HuffPost, “An engineer or an inventor or a designer can overcome whatever the new characteristics of the redesigned firearm would be,” highlighting potential loopholes that could be exploited.

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An Impact Beyond Glock?

Mark Oliva, representing the National Shooting Sports Federation, worries about the bill’s broad definition of ‘easily modified’.

A Glock pistol holstered in a black and pink stitched leather holster with a decorative cross pattern

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He worries it could encompass all striker-fired pistols, thus broadening its impact significantly and affecting a wide array of firearms.

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Understanding Glock Switches

Glock pistols are particularly vulnerable to being converted into automatic weapons with the addition of a ‘Glock switch.’

Close-up view of a Glock 19 pistol showing detailed features including the text "MADE IN AUSTRIA GLOCK INC, SMYRNA GA" along with other model specifications on its side

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This tiny modification allows for continuous firing as long as the trigger is held down, dramatically increasing the gun’s firing capabilities.

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The Thriving Black Market

The ease with which Glocks can be converted has spurred a significant black market.

A Glock pistol with a flat dark earth colored frame and black slide, displayed on a textured surface with embossed "GLOCK PERFECTION" branding

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Over the past five years, authorities have confiscated more than 31,000 illegal conversion devices, many of which are misleadingly sold online as legal and are easily manufactured on 3D printers.

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New York's Broader Gun Control Efforts

This initiative is just one part of New York’s comprehensive approach to gun control, driven by the urgency to enhance public safety following devastating mass shootings.

Panoramic view of the New York City skyline at twilight, showcasing the Empire State Building and surrounding skyscrapers brightly illuminated against a dusky sky

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It reflects a deep commitment by the state to prevent gun violence and protect its communities.

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